Thursday, July 31, 2008

CEP's Live Blogging - "Notes from the T. Boone Pickens town hall meeting in Topeka"

Maril Hazlett, Research Director of Kansas' Climate and Energy Project was at it again last night. When she was liveblogging the Kansas legislature last spring, I commented "I would lose my mind doing MH's job." Liveblogging is not easy and doing it coherently is a real talent. A month later she was still pounding the keyboard and my thought was
"Very, very sharp and a good writer (not your typical PhD. prose, eh?). Yesterday's post is worth a read even if you don't care about Kansas or coal. It's a very entertaining civics lesson."
Mr. Pickens began the "Townhall" portion of his promotion strategy in Topeka yesterday, here's the story:

Earlier today in Topeka was the kick-off for the series of town hall meetings that oilman T. Boone Pickens is having to publicize his Pickens Plan.

Doors were to open at 3:30 p.m., but if you got there that late then you probably didn’t get a seat. Here’s a snapshot of the crowd outside - I believe someone ran out to get them bottled water, so no one passed out in the heat. So I heard. Inside there were cookies....

...Representative Annie Kuether, ranking Democrat on the Kansas House Energy Committee, kicked off the introductions. Memorable quote: “We had quite a conversation, as you know, about energy last legislative session.” Lots of laughter in the room.

Kuether introduced Governor Sebelius. Sebelius too continued the metaphor of energy conversations, and discussed the energy crisis in America right now. She concluded with “When you’re in a hole, it’s time to stop digging.” The crowd seemed to agree. Sebelius then introduced T. Boone Pickens, and here they are below....Much More

That's a taste. She can even make eminent domain issues interesting:

...Eminent domain was not directly mentioned. However, I imagine what he is referring to is that under the Energy Act of 2005 the federal government (thru FERC, I think) has the power to declare transmission-constrained or -congested areas of the country “corridors of national interest.” Then within those areas, it can use eminent domain to build the lines.

How does eminent domain work? It’s really complicated. I don’t have a good answer. Sometimes it just takes the form of an easement, which allows the original landowner to retain some form of possession as well as other land rights. Sometimes it takes the whole schmeer, title included....

And that's something you'll be hearing about as we go forward.